U.S. Navy stopped Iran ship carrying weapons and headed to Gaza
TEL AVIV — U.S. defense sources said the U.S. Navy tracked and intercepted an
Iranian ship in the Red Sea that was headed for the Gaza Strip.
The sources said U.S. marines found ammunition,
including artillery shells, concealed in crates aboard the cargo ship.
"There was a huge amount of crates on board and we called for help," a
defense source said.
The U.S. television network CBS News reported that the ship was
intercepted by the U.S. Navy near Egypt's Suez Canal, Middle East Newsline reported. CBS said the U.S. Navy
vessel requested that Egyptian authorities direct the Iranian ship to port
for a thorough search.
"The U.S. Navy has now asked Egypt to force the Iranians to pull into
port for a more thorough inspection before being allowed to pass through the
Suez Canal to the Mediterranean, CBS News reported. "The fear is that those
artillery shells will be smuggled into Gaza."
There was no official confirmation of the report from either Egypt, Iran
or the United States.
Officials said the United States has sought to enhance tracking of
weapons ships to and from Iran. They said Washington has recruited NATO
allies, particularly Britain, to contribute naval vessels for patrols in the
Gulf and Arabian Sea.
Iran was said to have been the major weapons supplier to the Hamas
regime. Officials said Teheran, with help from Lebanon and Syria, has sent
thousands of rockets, missiles, anti-tank and anti-aircraft to the Gaza
Strip over the past year.